Brain Pickings

Reads tagged with “writing”

Poet Jane Kenyon’s Advice on Writing: Some of the Wisest Words to Create and Live By
Poet Jane Kenyon’s Advice on Writing: Some of the Wisest Words to Create and Live By

“Be a good steward of your gifts.”

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Borges on Public Opinion, Literature vs. the Other Arts, and the True Measure of Success
Borges on Public Opinion, Literature vs. the Other Arts, and the True Measure of Success

“When you come right down to it, opinions are the most superficial things about anyone.”

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Art as a Form of Active Prayer and What Writers Really Labor For
Art as a Form of Active Prayer and What Writers Really Labor For

“Immerse yourself in the common ground of the universe so that your true voice — not the egoistic voice that clamors vainly for power (for it will ruin you if you listen to it) — your authentic voice … may be heard.”

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Flannery O’Connor on Art, Integrity, and the Writer’s Responsibility to Their Talent
Flannery O’Connor on Art, Integrity, and the Writer’s Responsibility to Their Talent

“Art never responds to the wish to make it democratic; it is not for everybody; it is only for those who are willing to undergo the effort needed to understand it.”

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The Art of Constructive Criticism: Trailblazing Feminist Margaret Fuller Rejects Young Thoreau and Helps Him Improve His Writing
The Art of Constructive Criticism: Trailblazing Feminist Margaret Fuller Rejects Young Thoreau and Helps Him Improve His Writing

“I can have no advice or criticism for a person so sincere; but, if I give my impression of him, I will say, ‘He says too constantly of Nature, she is mine.’ She is not yours till you have been more hers.”

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Virginia Woolf on Why She Became a Writer and the Shock-Receiving Capacity Necessary for Being an Artist
Virginia Woolf on Why She Became a Writer and the Shock-Receiving Capacity Necessary for Being an Artist

“Behind the cotton wool is hidden a pattern… the whole world is a work of art… there is no Shakespeare… no Beethoven… no God; we are the words; we are the music; we are the thing itself.”

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The Inner Light of Creativity: Vivian Gornick on How You Blossom into Being an Artist
The Inner Light of Creativity: Vivian Gornick on How You Blossom into Being an Artist

“I experienced a joy then I knew nothing else would ever equal. Not an ‘I love you’ in the world could touch it.”

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Umberto Eco’s Advice to Writers
Umberto Eco’s Advice to Writers

“If we think that our reader is an idiot, we should not use rhetorical figures, but if we use them and feel the need to explain them, we are essentially calling the reader an idiot. In turn, he will take revenge by calling the author an idiot.”

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A Living Obituary: Faulkner’s Beautiful Epitaph for Himself
A Living Obituary: Faulkner’s Beautiful Epitaph for Himself

“He made the books and he died.”

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The Value of Not Understanding Everything: Grace Paley’s Advice to Aspiring Writers
The Value of Not Understanding Everything: Grace Paley’s Advice to Aspiring Writers

“Luckily for art, life is difficult, hard to understand, useless, and mysterious.”

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